Over the last few years I have been building a generous collection of foraged apple seeds. I have a tradition of sprouting these seeds as early as New Year’s as a totally gratuitous mid-winter gardening activity. The first couple of years I only collected a handful of varieties, but over this last summer my little experiment turned into a full-on project. Here I’ll share the findings I’ve gathered on the topic of actually sprouting the apple seeds and the exciting (or disappointing) results I’ve gotten.
In the colder months when the wind blows snow flurries over our lifeless garden and the fire burns cozy in the living room, one of the most anticipated events in my house is the mid-winter arrival of the annual seed catalogs. There are few things more comforting than relaxing on the couch with a colorful magazine full of page after page of beautiful vegetables, flowers and herbs. Even though I rarely purchase from more than one or two companies every year it’s a wonderfully cathartic way to ward off the chilly weather.
Welcome (or welcome back) to the cabin! I’m sitting down with a cup of tea and my seed purchases for the 2023 season to chat with you about what I’m most excited to grow this year as well as how I organize my seed stash.
Do you love the sweet and nutty chewiness of a whole wheat loaf of bread, but want to leaven it with sourdough? Look no further. While I use a homemade seed mix, Bob’s Red Mill makes a nut & seed mix that can be added to any bread recipe for a hearty dose of heart-healthy grains and seeds
Lavender is a hardy perennial herb renowned for its aromatic blooms and soothing medicinal qualities. Popular with pollinators and astoundingly deer-proof, this classical, compact shrub is a fabulous choice for low-maintenance landscaping or beautifying a kitchen garden. Dating back to the Old World and being native to the Mediterranean, lavender is drought-tolerant, easy to grow and thrives in poor soil conditions as long as it has good drainage.
This is a perfect way to maintain your sourdough starter without it taking over your life! It spends most of the time in the fridge in a small jar, but it always available if you need it. When baking with it always remember to reserve at least 50 grams of starter to keep it going.
I can say without an ounce of trepidation that this batch of minestrone soup is the BEST we have ever tasted! I have made gallons of it, and the pot is always scraped clean by the night’s end. It comes together quickly and easily, and pairs amazingly with a side salad or even just some fresh homemade bread.
But now that I’ve started making my own yogurt at home I have cut our overall dairy cost by over half, even though I’m paying twice as much for milk – and in my mind that’s an investment worth making. A two week supply of yogurt now costs us $7 instead of $50 and it requires minimal work on my part! And can you really put a price on the quality of homemade food? I sure can’t.
In my quest to find a traditional sourdough recipe for this type of bread, I found two things to be true: it is typically made with olive oil, something that I’m not as experienced with in sourdough; and the rosemary is either added to the olive oil to impart flavor, or the dried herb is chopped and added to the dough – but NEVER both. So, in typical fashion, I decided to put my own twist on the traditional and do the rosemary flavoring a little differently.
Over the past year that I’ve spent honing my home baking I’ve come to one important conclusion: Bread is not as complicated as it’s made out to be. This is especially true when it comes to sourdough! I don’t feed my starter on a regular schedule, rather by what its reaction is to feeding; I don’t measure out exact quantities when I do feed my starter, but go by sight and feel; and I don’t know the hydration of my starter – nor does it matter to me. I just do what works in my home.
While it’s more of a guide than a recipe I’ve written up my garden bouillon process below. I highly recommend experimenting with the meats and veggies you add to the stock pot for an interesting flavor combination!
Making your own chicken stock (or any kind of broth, really) is amazingly effortless, especially if you own a pressure cooker! I threw this recipe together after butchering a naughty hen from our egg layers – you can see more about that experience in my Homestead Kitchen Diary – but you can use any whole, raw chicken you pick up locally or from the supermarket.
I finally got the courage to cull my first hen after we adopted a few rescue chickens from a backyard chicken owner. They had been kept indoors pretty much all their lives and came to us with a number of problems, one of which being the dreaded egg-eating. This counterproductive problem got worse and worse until the straw that finally broke the camel’s back: I came into the coop to gather eggs one day and was literally fighting off hens hand-and-claw for the few precious eggs we were getting in the dead of winter. The one in particular that I could clearly identify was a hefty white hen, which I confirmed based on the egg yolk clearly covering her face and comb.
I hope those of you who are familiar with the “quality” of AcuRite products don’t scoff at the title of this post. While the entire line of products leaves a lot to be desired, they have a monopoly on the weather reporting market, so therefore they can charge an outlandish amount of money for items that oftentimes have subpar performance. However, the modules that we have around our property provide data and reliability that make our life much easier. I’d like to take a moment and share some of those products with you as well as what purpose they serve and how they help us on the homestead.
The beauty of this method is that you only need a small amount of the starter to reactivate for each round of baking you do while it’s in the fridge. As long as it’s not moldy it will be safe and ready to use until you only have a small amount left; this remaining starter is used to mix another batch of dry starter to refill your container.